It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger finds her life changed when she unearths a single object from the snow. It is The Grave Digger’s Handbook, left there by accident at her brother’s funeral, and it is her first act of book thievery. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jewish man in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up and closed down
1939 was indeed a dangerous time, especially in Nazi Germany, for Liesel was not the only victim of this hectic chaos that was World War II to have their life changed forever....
Andrei Markovits, Siegfried Knappe, and W.G. Sebald were all one of the many people who experienced the chaotic terror of World War II and all had each of their own stories to share.
Andrei Markovits, an author who wrote a book called, "The German Predicament: Memory and Power in the New Europe", quoted on the Forward Association website that, “At German get-togethers, questions about the moral equivalence of Nazi crimes and allied attacks were always there. It is new only in the left-wing intelligentsia’s willingness to talk about these things publicly.” Markovits means that few people are willing to talk about the gruesome acts and crimes commited by Nazis that were witnessed, for it brings back painful, scarring memories. Liesel Meminger might agree with Markovits. After all, she herself had lost her mother, foster parents, and friends, all because of the Nazis' malicious acts.
Siegfried Knappe, a German soldier from World War II, had an interview with an unnamed interviewer for the History Net website to talk about his perspective of how it was like. At first, Knappe believed that the man he was fighting for was worth all the risks and was important to protect him and his belief in the world. But, later, Knappe slowly began to realize that the man he was fighting battles for wasn't the man he thought to be after all. In the History Net website, when the interviewer asked him what drove Knappe to go against his fuhrer, he said "General Weidling told me that Hitler had said that he did not want to die in the street like a ‘Landstreicher.’ Landstreicher does not have an exact translation into English, that is why my book uses the word ‘dog,’ but a Landstreicher is someone like a hobo or panhandler. Both of us had seen hundreds of German soldiers die in the streets during the war, and now Hitler was saying that he did not want to die like they died. My brother died from his wounds that he received in Russia. So, both of us were very upset by Hitler’s use of this word. It was just such an unbelievable comment, especially to make that type of comment to a soldier. It wasn’t until this time that I finally began to realize what sort of man we had been fighting for."
W.G. Sebald, an author who wrote a book called, "'Air War and Literature", quoted on the New York Times website that, "in the secret kept by all of the corpses walled up in the foundations of our state . . . a secret that bound the Germans together after the war -- and still binds them today -- more closely than any positive goal, such as the realization of democracy, ever could." W.G. Sebald means that because of such a harrowing, dark time like World War II, Germans that suffered through that time are bounded together than any form of government could ever do.